Shropshire-based Protolabs (www.protolabs.co.uk
), which provides rapid manufacturing of low-volume 3-D printed, CNC-machined, sheet metal, and injection-moulded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production, has launched a new service in response to growing demand from customers looking for a single-source solution.
The company, which employs over 430 people at its ‘state of the art’ facility in Telford, is now offering aluminium anodising as part of its on-demand production service, which starts with part design and moves through to a finished part.
Special operations manager Stephen Dyson said: “We have grown rapidly, as customers recognise the advantages of using our digital manufacturing capabilities for rapid prototypes and on-demand production parts.
"Talking to our clients, we realised that if they needed to anodise an aluminium part, it was often difficult for them to source and then manage a supplier.
"They not only have to do all the research and then raise a separate purchase order, but often find that the supplier only accepts large quantities of parts in an order, which isn’t great for low-volume runs.
“Keeping the entire production process with a single supplier makes perfect sense for manufacturers.
“It means that they can get their finished parts shipped in a matter of days, and our technical team can advise them through the entire process, right from the initial design of the part to the best approach for the final anodising finish.”
Anodising applies a thin protective coat to the part, forming a protective oxide layer.
It is used to create a barrier against corrosion, to increase abrasion-resistance and to produce decorative effects through an enhanced surface finish.